November 30, 2023

A man displays medical marijuana from a Massachusetts medical marijuana dispensary in Salem.

Jonathan Wiggs | The Boston Globe | Getty Images

Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday reiterated his call for marijuana to be legalized at the federal level in hopes of ending the drug ban by April 20 next year.

“Hopefully next time, when this unofficial holiday, April 20th, is over, our country will have made progress in a meaningful and comprehensive fight against the massive over-criminalization of marijuana,” said Sen. Schumer on the upper floor of the chamber.

Schumer then declared that the nation’s war on drugs “too often has been a war against people, especially those of skin color”.

“I believe the time has come to end the federal marijuana ban in this country, and I’m working with Senators Booker and Wyden on legislation to do just that,” he said.

In February, Sens. Schumer, Corey Booker (D-NJ), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) published a joint statement calling for restorative justice for people convicted of pot-related crimes.

Senators then said they would release “a single draft discussion on major reforms” earlier this year and that passing the law would be a priority for the Senate. The draft has yet to be published.

The House recently passed law allowing banks to work with cannabis companies in states where it is legal to do so. This was seen as a move to allow for more commercial use by the federal government.

Legislation is now awaiting Senate approval.

To date, 15 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational adult use, and 36 states allow the drug to be used medicinally.